has covered energy and environment for the Tribune since 2010. Previously she reported on clean energy for The New York Times from 2008 to 2009, serving as the lead writer for the Times' Green blog. She began her career at The Economist in 2000 and spent 2005 to 2007 in Austin as the magazine's Southwest correspondent. A Nieman fellow in journalism at Harvard University from 2007 to 2008, she has an undergraduate degree in English from Harvard and a master's degree from the London School of Economics. She is co-author of The Great Texas Wind Rush, a book about how the oil and gas state won the race to wind power.
As investigators search for the cause of the explosion, environmentalists said that the situation highlighted lax regulations in Texas for plants handling dangerous chemicals — especially those located near schools.
UPDATED: The Texas House is moving ahead with a bill requiring disclosure of certain political donors despite an effort by the Senate to pull the legislation back. Meanwhile, the bill's author, Sen. Kel Seliger, R-Amarillo, said senators had been heavily lobbied to change their vote.
UPDATED: Railroad Commission Chairman Barry Smitherman apologized on Friday for retweeting an image that showed a noose beside the names of Republican U.S. senators who had voted down a gun-control filibuster.
Amid continued worries about reservoir levels statewide, several Texas communities are exploring the concept of underground storage reservoirs, which do not lose water to evaporation or flood agricultural land.
Should groundwater districts be allowed to require permits for drilling companies wanting to withdraw water for hydraulic fracturing? Oil companies oppose the idea, and on Tuesday, the Senate Natural Resources Committee debated the issue.
by Kate Galbraith, The Texas Tribune and Terrence Henry, KUT News/StateImpact Texas 21
As the water-intensive practice of fracking continues to spread, the amount of wastewater being buried in disposal wells around Texas has skyrocketed. But the wells bring concerns about truck traffic and the possibility of groundwater contamination.
Most fracking operations use several million gallons of water. But with water increasingly scarce and costly around Texas, a few companies have begun using alternative liquids, such as propane. Experts say the technology still has far to go.
The three Texas Railroad Commissioners get their campaign coffers replenished by the industry they regulate, and lawmakers carrying the RRC Sunset legislation seem determined to make a change. The commissioners are equally determined to hold firm.
Texas endured the most intense drought in recorded state history in 2011, and it has yet to bounce back. Using data collected from the Texas Water Development Board's reservoir status tracker, we are relaunching our auto-updating map that visualizes the current state of Texas reservoirs.